Weight vest training is one of the most effective ways to improve your vertical jump. Many professional and college teams like to use weight vests to train their athletes. If you’re looking to mix up your training a bit and break through plateaus by trying something new, this is a great way to do it.
Why Use a Weight Vest?
One of the main reasons for using a weight vest is to increase the amount of effort required to complete your exercises. The reason this is important is that it requires your body to adjust to a heavier load than it would normally experience during, for example, a basketball game. If your body can get used to operating under a heavier load you’ll feel much stronger and lighter when you’re not wearing the weighted vest (obviously).
Another benefit besides the increased strength is the gain in speed and quickness. This is where using plyometrics and a weight vest in combination can be a huge boon to your growth as an athlete.
As you may know, plyometrics are used to improve your explosive power. By forcing your body to train explosively under a higher amount of strain you’ll be greatly increasing your body’s ability to move quickly and powerfully. If you’re looking for a way to beat your opponent off the line or off the dribble, training with plyometrics and a weight vest is one of the best ways to quickly achieve this.
Besides the usual benefits that you’d think of (speed, strength, explosiveness, etc.) you’ll also be building better stamina, burning more calories and improving the strength of your joints. One of the most overlooked aspects of sports is ensuring that parts of the body like your ankles and knees are in tip top shape.
Training in a controlled setting (aka the gym) with a weight vest will build up the toughness of your ligaments and other connective tissue outside of game situations. Once you’re in the game, you’ll be much less likely to suffer a rolled ankle or blown out knee due to the increased resilience of your body.
One thing I should add is that you should do most of your weight vest training during the off-season to avoid too much fatigue. You can use the vest occasionally during the season, but try to tone it down a bit
How to Use a Weight Vest in Your Vertical Jump Training
One of the guys I follow most in the vertical jump training world is Jack Woodrup. He’s got a very good video explainng how to use weight vests in your training. Check out the video below.
Things to Keep in Mind
One of the good things about a weight vest is that they are adjustable. Therefore, if you’re a relative beginner you can start out with a smaller amount of weight than someone who might be more advanced.
Something you should keep in mind is that when you start training you should begin with a light weight just to see how your body reacts. You might find that it is going to take some time to get used to the vest. The main issue I ran into when I first started training with a vest is that my back muscles were incredibly sore due to the extra weight. This goes without saying, but make sure you stretch out before doing a weighted vest workout.
Something I would avoid doing with a weighted vest is running long distances. You can definitely do sprints and short bursts of running, but don’t be running miles with one of these things on. While a weight vest can help build up your joints if used in short explosive exercises, it can have the opposite effect of messing up your joints if you exercise with it on for prolonged periods of time. I made this mistake, so don’t try it.
The following is a list of a few exercises that you can use with your weight vest. These should give you a solid workout and allow you to quickly improve your vertical. Try to avoid exercises that require you to jump off of objects (such as altitude landings) since the added weight can put a lot of stress on your joints.
What’s A Good Vest To Use?
There are several weight vests on the market that are great for vertical jump training. One of the best is the Xvest. The Xvest is used heavily by professional athletes and teams, and it’s a very durable piece of training equipment. If you’re looking for a serious training vest you should go with this one.
You can see that Xvest comes in several different weight categories. Usually 40 pounds (their middle-weight model) will be enough added resistance for thorough vertical jump training. If you want to go with the 20 pounder to save money that’s fine as well. Just keep in mind that you may quickly outgrow it.
The only downside to the Xvest is that it’s a bit expensive. However, the durability of it will allow you to get years of use out of it. If you’re going to get a weight vest, go for one that will last over one that is cheap.